Last weekend, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s president and CEO, Franklin Graham (Billy’s son), announced on their Facebook page that they were going to move their accounts from Wells Fargo to another bank. Why you ask? Simply because Wells Fargo used a lesbian couple in a recent commercial that showed their support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) community.
But let’s not focus on numbers, let’s focus on how this affects consumers. Consumers become more and more educated by the day. Gone are the days where you could sell a consumer a product or service that they didn’t need or was produced by a company that hated you. The LGBTQ consumer is especially in tune with what companies are or are not doing for the LGBTQ community. A survey indicated that 78% of LGBTQ adults and their friend and family would switch to brands that are known to be LGBTQ-friendly. 78%!
Companies recognize the buying power and the brand loyalty associated with the LGBTQ community. But they also know that their Christian customers have a significant amount of buying power too, therefore companies are taking calculated risks to be inclusive of all of their consumers regardless of what walks of life they come from. I recently read a study from the Public Religious Research Institute that showed:
What this says to me is that hearts and minds for LGBTQ equality and same-sex marriage are changing in our country and faith based consumers are changing with those opinions. We need to dispel the myth that companies have to choose a side whether they support LGBTQ inclusion or religion in their marketing or internally within their organizations. This is evidenced by the fact that when Franklin Graham moved the foundation’s money from Wells Fargo he invested it with BB&T. Guess what? BB&T is also LGBTQ-friendly. A local Miami branch supported a Gay Pride festival fundraising reception this year, where a long time gay couple married in the branch.
My point here is: Franklin Graham can run from one LGBTQ-friendly bank to another because he’s going to be hard pressed to find a fortune sized financial institution who will stand beside him and declare their hatred for the LGBTQ community. Corporate America is well aware that discrimination is wrong to any worker; it’s just been far too long that LGBTQ discrimination was still acceptable. The tides are changing on this, a little bit day by day. Good luck in your search, Franklin!
Jenn T. Grace is the owner of The Professional Lesbian. She teaches straight people how to market to gay people and gay people how to market themselves.